Tucson mom talks about the relief ‘infant at work’ program provided

Article first appeared on kgun9.com

TUCSON, Ariz. – One southern Arizona mom is expressing her gratitude for a program implemented at her place of work that allowed her to spend more time with her daughter.

Jessica Caraballo works at Our Family Services. Nine months ago she gave birth to her second child, Penelope.

Penelope was born prematurely, which forced Caraballo to think hard about how she was going to manage her time off.

“With her prematurity I had to be out a longer period of time than with a typical maternity leave,” said Caraballo.

However, that worry didn’t last long for Caraballo. After she gave birth to Penelope, her boss Beth Morrison, the CEO of Our Family Services, reached out to Caraballo about a newly implemented ‘infant at work’ program.

Morrison implemented the ‘infant at work’ program in the spring of 2019. She said she decided this was something her employees should have access to after she looked at the benefits package and asked herself two simple questions.

“How can we best support them and how can we offer the most flexible work environment we possibly can,” added Morrison.

The program allows for a mother or father to bring their child to work with them from the point they are newborns to six months old or start crawling. There is an exception to parents who must work out in the field or directly meet with clients constantly, according to Morrison.

Back in 2018, during his State of the State address, Governor Doug Ducey vowed to expand this program to different departments across the state.

At Our Family Services, Caraballo and her daughter, Penelope, were the first to take part.

“I just felt like a huge wave of relief because of trying to figure out how am I going to make this work,” said Caraballo.

Caraballo told KGUN9 she was nervous about bringing Penelope into work with her, but she knew it was a great opportunity to continue bonding with her newborn.

“I was nervous because I wanted to be conscientious of my co-workers and even though my baby was a quiet baby, I didn’t want her to be disruptive in any way,” she said.

Caraballo told KGUN9 she would recommend employers with an office work setting to implement the program, not only because it helps moms and dads but also their children.

“When you leave your baby at six weeks or even two months, it’s just too soon and you just want to be there, they’re so tiny,” said Caraballo.

Caraballo’s daughter, Penelope, was the first baby to graduate from the program at Our Family Services. She’s been the only baby in the program at the organization so far.

Penelope graduated from the program a few months ago.

To be able to utilize the program, it must be implemented at your place of work.